Tensile mechanical properties of fully recrystallized TWIP steel specimens having various grain sizes (d) ranging from 0.79 μm to 85.6 μm were investigated. It was confirmed that the UFG specimens having the mean grain sizes of 1.5 μm or smaller abnormally showed discontinuous yielding characterized by a clear yield-drop while the specimens having grain sizes larger than 2.4 μm showed normal continuous yielding. In-situ synchrotron radiation XRD showed dislocation density around yield-drop in the UFG specimen quickly increased. ECCI observations revealed the nucleation of deformation twins and stacking faults from grain boundaries in the UFG specimen around yielding. Although it had been conventionally reported that the grain refinement suppresses deformation twinning in FCC metals and alloys, the number density of deformation twins in the 0.79 μm grain-sized specimen was much higher than that in the specimens with grain sizes of 4.5 μm and 15.4 μm. The unusual change of yielding behavior from continuous to discontinuous manner by grain refinement could be understood on the basis of limited number of free dislocations in each ultrafine grain. The results indicated that the scarcity of free dislocations in the recrystallized UFG specimens changed the deformation and twinning mechanisms in the TWIP steel.
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